Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Limits to Growth

Delivering the 2006 Templeton Lecture at Sydney University, Professor Jorgen Randers transcribed by Kristin Sponsler

Well, thank you so much. It is a great pleasure to be here, to give the Templeton lecture for 2006. In all this, I have always started giving talks by telling a joke. I have stopped doing that, because I have learned my singsong Norwegian English does not carry well, and people never laughed at my jokes. So I always need to say a few words initially just so you can get used to how it is going up and down. So, when you are smiling, it means that we are ready to go.

So I am going to talk to you today about Global Collapse: Fact or Fiction?
An interesting topic, one which is difficult to talk about, because when you talk about it you will be seen as a doomsayer, irrespective of what you are saying. I am not a doomsayer, but you will still draw the conclusion after having heard the talk that that's what I am. That's wrong. What I will speak about are these four things:

What is global collapse?
Can it happen?
If it were to happen, would we describe it afterward as such?
And what should be done?

And for those of you who have spouses who request from you when you come home tonight to summarize, “What did he say?” I will tell you the answers to those four questions.

What is global collapse? It is a sudden and uncontrollable decline in average welfare. Welfare could be life, it could be anything. That is the short answer to the first one.

Can it happen? Yes.

If it happened, would we describe it as such afterward, say in the history books of the year 2100? The answer is, probably not.

And what should be done? We should be working very very hard to try to avert climate change.
So, these are the four things I am going to say. If you think those are unsurprising and easily understood, you can leave, because there isn’t actually very much more to say about the issue.

For the full transcript, click on the title of this post.

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